The Book of Hosea: “A Parable of Love for God’s People”
Readings: Hosea 11:1-4, 7-9; 13:4-6; 14:1, 4-9 and Mark 1:40-45
- Consider reading the entirety of Hosea 11-14 and in the Message version. The prophet Hosea revealed God through several metaphoric images: parent, provider, healer to name a few. As you sit with the sacred text and listen to God speak and describe himself to his people, which image resonates most with you? Why?
- God through Hosea reminds Israel of their past, how they were fed, led, and cared for in their journeys. Take a few moments to recall moments in your history where and when you had a heightened awareness of God’s caring presence with you. Reflect also on those moments when you turned away from God, sinned, faltered or, were fickle in faith and holy affections. What was that like as you experienced God in your faults and fickleness? As you recollect, what do you notice bubbling up, in this moment, regarding your thoughts, emotions, or faith and affections?
- Read Mark’s Gospel account of Jesus as healer: Mark 1:40-44. As you read, notice what comes up in you regarding a request: is there a need for a specific kind of “healing” maybe of mind, heart or body? Or in a relationship? Maybe as you’ve been reading and meditating the Holy Spirit has revealed an area of sin that needs confession? Take time now to ask, seek, and receive from Jesus, who “wills” your cleansing and wholeness. Listen again to the word of the Lord: “I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly.” (Hosea 14:4 MSG)
Conclude your reflections with a hymn (prayer) from American Quaker and poet John Greenleaf Whittier:
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
Beside the Syrian sea
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow Thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
Our words and works that drown
The tender whisper of Thy call,
As noiseless let Thy blessing fall
As fell Thy manna down.
Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and Thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.